COLLEGE SAVINGS 101

Savingforcollege.com

The 40-Day College Savings Challenge
http://www.savingforcollege.com/articles/40-day-college-saving-challenge

Posted: 2014-03-04

by Kathryn Flynn

If you’re waiting for the right time to plan a college savings strategy, you may want to consider starting this week. For many Christians across the globe, this Tuesday is Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday). Mardi Gras is a day of indulgence that is often celebrated with cakes, cocktails, parties and parades in preparation for the fasting season of Lent. Regardless of religious beliefs, many people observe the 40 days and 40 nights before Easter as a time for discipline and choose to “give up” something, such as eating sweets, drinking alcohol or other bad habits. Others may try to incorporate more good things into their lives during this season. We think this could be a perfect time to focus on your spending and find room in your budget for college savings.

Where to Find Savings

One of the most obvious ways to save money is to cut down on spending. Some easy ways to achieve this can be by making your own coffee, taking public transportation or eating meals at home. Keep in mind however that grocery bills can also add up quickly. A good way to prevent this from happening is to always plan ahead and stick to your list. Other ways to avoid sticker shock at checkout are to choose store brands over expensive name brands, buy in bulk and look for coupons. There are a number of convenient online grocery coupon websites and apps available today, such as store specific programs like Target’s Cartwheel and Meijer’s Mperks. Even if you’re not into “extreme couponing”, saving a couple of dollars here and there can certainly add up over time.

In addition to keeping a close eye on your spending, this is also a great time to review your monthly bills. Think about whether you really need everything you are paying for. How much do you spend per month on cable TV? Could you live without premium channels in order to reduce your bill? Is it really worth $50+ a month to watch the Wiggles and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Your mobile phone bill may be another place to uncover savings. If the minutes you are using are significantly less than what your plan allows, find out if a cheaper option is available.

You may even be able to find expenses that can be eliminated all together. For example, if you don’t frequent the gym you probably don’t need the membership. Staying healthy should be a priority, but try and explore options that don’t require a membership like fitness rooms in your office or apartment building, outdoor gyms at local parks or activities like bicycling or running. If you have babies or toddlers, investing in a jogging stroller may be a smart alternative to paying for daycare at a health club.

Next Steps

  • During the next 40 days, be sure to keep track of every dollar you save
  • Open a 529 college savings plan
  • Use the total amount of money saved as your initial deposit
  • Determine a realistic monthly contribution based on this amount
  • Set up automatic deposits from your checking or savings account
  • Sit back and watch your earnings grow tax-free!

You’ll never miss the money because you never really had it in the first place. In the end, your kids might cry about the cable but they’ll thank you later when they are able to attend the college of their choice.

If you’re waiting for the right time to plan a college savings strategy, you may want to consider starting this week. For many Christians across the globe, this Tuesday is Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday). Mardi Gras is a day of indulgence that is often celebrated with cakes, cocktails, parties and parades in preparation for the fasting season of Lent. Regardless of religious beliefs, many people observe the 40 days and 40 nights before Easter as a time for discipline and choose to “give up” something, such as eating sweets, drinking alcohol or other bad habits. Others may try to incorporate more good things into their lives during this season. We think this could be a perfect time to focus on your spending and find room in your budget for college savings.

Where to Find Savings

One of the most obvious ways to save money is to cut down on spending. Some easy ways to achieve this can be by making your own coffee, taking public transportation or eating meals at home. Keep in mind however that grocery bills can also add up quickly. A good way to prevent this from happening is to always plan ahead and stick to your list. Other ways to avoid sticker shock at checkout are to choose store brands over expensive name brands, buy in bulk and look for coupons. There are a number of convenient online grocery coupon websites and apps available today, such as store specific programs like Target’s Cartwheel and Meijer’s Mperks. Even if you’re not into “extreme couponing”, saving a couple of dollars here and there can certainly add up over time.

In addition to keeping a close eye on your spending, this is also a great time to review your monthly bills. Think about whether you really need everything you are paying for. How much do you spend per month on cable TV? Could you live without premium channels in order to reduce your bill? Is it really worth $50+ a month to watch the Wiggles and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? Your mobile phone bill may be another place to uncover savings. If the minutes you are using are significantly less than what your plan allows, find out if a cheaper option is available.

You may even be able to find expenses that can be eliminated all together. For example, if you don’t frequent the gym you probably don’t need the membership. Staying healthy should be a priority, but try and explore options that don’t require a membership like fitness rooms in your office or apartment building, outdoor gyms at local parks or activities like bicycling or running. If you have babies or toddlers, investing in a jogging stroller may be a smart alternative to paying for daycare at a health club.

Next Steps

  • During the next 40 days, be sure to keep track of every dollar you save
  • Open a 529 college savings plan
  • Use the total amount of money saved as your initial deposit
  • Determine a realistic monthly contribution based on this amount
  • Set up automatic deposits from your checking or savings account
  • Sit back and watch your earnings grow tax-free!

You’ll never miss the money because you never really had it in the first place. In the end, your kids might cry about the cable but they’ll thank you later when they are able to attend the college of their choice.

 

Reset email successfully sent.
Please check your inbox.

Close
page loadtime mark

Advertisement


close